Literacy

The Harry Potter Effect

According to Heidi Benson of the San Francisco Chronicle, "Despite what has been dubbed the "Harry Potter Effect" -- which credits J.K. Rowling's blockbuster book series with turning Game Boy addicts into lifelong readers -- reading is in serious decline among teens nationwide, according to a forthcoming federal study."

"What we need is a Harry Potter every week," said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who oversaw the study.

The endowment's report on children's reading rates, the first of its kind, compiles results from more than 24 government agencies, including the Department of Education, the Census Bureau and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Word-of-the-Day: Anecdotage


A.Word.A.Day
Guest Wordsmith Fred Shapiro is a librarian and lecturer at the Yale Law School. He writes:

"My recently published book, The Yale Book of Quotations (Yale University Press), is intended to supplant Bartlett's Familiar Quotations and the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as the most authoritative quotation dictionary. It is the first major quotation book to emphasize modern sources, including popular culture, children's literature, sports, computers, politics, and law.

The Yale Book of Quotations is also the first quotation book of any sort to use state-of-the-art research methods to comprehensively collect famous quotations and to trace quotations to their accurate origins. The Yale Book of Quotations includes hundreds of very famous and popular quotations omitted from other quotation dictionaries, and corrects the standard accounts of how many important quotations originated."

anecdotage (an-ik-DO-tij) noun

1. The telling of anecdotes.

2. Anecdotes collectively.

[From Greek anekdota (things unpublished), from an- (not) + ekdidonai (to publish). Originally applied by the Greek historian Procopius to his unpublished memoirs of the Emperor Justinian and his consort Theodora.]

(ed-beware this one)

3. Old age characterized by excessive telling of anecdotes.

[Humorous blend of anecdote and dotage, from dote (to be foolish).]

"When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to retire."
Benjamin Disraeli; Lothair; 1870; quoted in The Yale Book of Quotations.

'More reading' than in 1970s

People in the UK seem to have been reading more over the past quarter of a century, a study suggests. They analysed thousands of time-use diaries compiled for official census agencies in five countries in 1975 and again at the turn of the millennium.

One theory is books are ideal to fill gaps in people's schedules - and with busier lives there are more gaps.

School Principal Spends the Day Up On the Roof

Children (and teachers?)sometimes have a hard time thinking of their school principal as a regular human being, so you can imagine the joy incurred when Candy McCarthy, Principal of Washington Middle School in Salinas, CA spent the day on the school roof as a reward for her students surpassing a spending level at the school book fair. Salinas Californian (home of Steinbeck and the public library reprieved from closure a couple of years ago) has the story and photo of a grinning McCarthy.

"Burst" culture

madcow writes "Cory Doctorow's wonderful BoingBoing has a link to Warren Ellis take on "Burst" culture, ie microchunks of culture, data, information, short attention span, what was I just typing? oh yeah. Bursts.

"* I love print. I love magazines that commit and pay for long articles and long fiction. The web rewards neither approach. It's a packeted medium, a surf medium. Short bursts are the way to go. The web isn't a replacement medium — it's *another* medium. "

Ellis' take.
"* Bursts aren't contentless, nor do they denote the end of Attention Span. If attention span was dead, JK Rowling wouldn't be selling paperbacks thick enough to choke a pig, and Neal Stephenson wouldn't be making a living off books the size of the first bedsit I lived in.""

Ambient Librarian is honored by Oklahoma Magazine

Tulsa City-County Library Literacy Coordinator Jennifer Greb (a.k.a. Jenn2.0, webmistress of the Ambient Librarian wiki on Library2.0 topics) has been honored by Oklahoma Magazine as one of their "40 Under 40". This is a list of 40 young movers and shakers around the state. Nice to see libraries getting that kind of forward-looking reputation!

Thai Princess calls for more libraries

HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn expressed her concern that Thai children in rural areas did not have access to books because there were not enough libraries.

The princess was speaking at the opening ceremony of Bangkok International Book Fair 2007 at the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre.
"Only when these children have an opportunity to learn from books can Thai society truly become a learning society," she said.

UK Schools refuse gifts of 'boring' classics

Dozens of schools have rejected gifts of free classic books because today's pupils find them too 'difficult' to read, it has emerged.

Around 50 schools have refused to stock literary works by the likes of Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens after admitting that youngsters also find them boring.

The worrying figures were released by the Millennium Library Trust, which donates sets of up to 300 books to schools across the country.

Books: Liver...or Ice Cream?

Two childrens book author/librarians, Gina Macaluso and Mary Margaret Mercado have a pretty basic approach to helping kids learn to read.

"The kids who love to read will be the most successful," Mercado said. In her eyes, books can be liver or ice cream: good for you, or really yummy.
She and Macaluso, at the Pima County (AZ) Public Library, want kids to get started reading books that are yummy like ice cream, "then they'll develop a palate for everything else and learn to eat more than just ice cream," Mercado said. More from Arizona Daily Star.

No Such Thing as Ownership: The Library

Here's a sweet essay (Guardian Unlimited) from a UK dad who, owing to the new baby in his life, has rediscovered the public library.

But maybe I can drag out her pre-consumer phase, postpone the day when owning the toy becomes more important than chewing the wrapper. So I take her to a magical place where there is no such thing as ownership, only learning and sharing. I take her to the library.

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